Well, it’s the middle of winter and it looks like we have a good chance of snow early in the week.
Fortunately it’s early twenties here in Fuerteventura, so I don’t have to worry about that rubbish for another ten days.
I’m taking the proverbial. Apologies, but I can’t help gloating.
So over the last week or so I’ve been asking myself if I’ve been expecting too much from the Villa and have come to realise that I definitely am.
It’s as though I’m expecting us to go through the whole season winning every game and we all know that just doesn’t happen. Even the very best teams get beaten sometimes.
Yet, even so, I don’t see what’s wrong in wanting the best. The trouble is it leads to bitter disappointment when we do lose.
Will I change my thinking? I doubt it, but I can at least try to calm it down somewhat.
Which leads to the game against Everton. Put simply, I fully expect us to win this game, but also realise we could easily lose it, because it’s what we’ve done for decades.
Mind you, I remember years of us all saying we’ll never amount to anything if we can’t beat the top 6 and can only beat the “lower” clubs.
It seems things are totally the opposite now.
Maybe it would be better if we were facing an Everton in the top 10 of the table?
Everton currently lie 17th in the table on 16 points. That’s dangerously close to bottom three, which would probably make them an even more difficult task for us. They would have been twelfth without their 10 point deduction, which shows they’re not doing too badly although their form seems to have dropped off a bit and they lost their last game 3-0 to Wolves.
Squad news and we have Pau, Tielemans and Olsen available to be assessed today, which is definitely good news.The downside is that Lucas Digne is still out, but may be available for our next game.
Bertrand Traore is at the African cup of nations, which doesn’t really bother as a player, but he’s about the only asset worth any money and if his country do well, he might not even be available in this window. Which could be a real blow, because Emery has specifically said we’re having to work with a “one in-one out polcy”. So definitely no big name signings this month, which seems to be a real missed opportunity.
However, what we can we do if our hands are tied?
As for Everton Abdoulaye Doucoure could feature, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has had his 3 match ban overturned and Ashley Young is back in training. Idrissa Gueye will also be at the African cup of Nations.
Unai has said himself that basically Everton are not a bad side and they have many facets to their game. He also makes the point where they do try to attack you which should suit us better. He also says they work hard at winning the second balls and we all know we give those chances far too often.
So we’re going to have to press them and I feel that’s what the whole game is going to be about.
Can we outwork them in the midfield and basically, well, outpress them?
I have concerns, because we look tired and lacking sharpness lately. It’s obviously the same for Everton, but you would think they’re playing with more of a “survival” approach which can make players work harder.
That said, we have to tools to punish Everton and I see goals. Three of them.
Villa to win 2-1 in a very tight, probably scrappy game, with hopefully a couple of flashes of brilliance.